House Lust: An Art-Filled Cabin with Tree House Vibes for Less Than $300K

The North Smithfield property is nestled amongst conservation land and a lake filled with native trout.

Friends, let me tell you about 9 Bridge Walk in North Smithfield.

This is not merely a house with walls, floors and windows — oh, the glorious stained glass windows! It is not solely a vessel for life’s accumulation. It is not inert. This place has been tended to and nurtured and valued over a lifetime — an artistic one, at that. This place, simply put, is a home.

In 1972, artist Paul Edward Leeming and his wife, Susan, purchased what was then a tiny single-story cottage nestled amid the pines. The Leemings were drawn to the setting; blue heron, wild turkeys, deer and river otter gather here and, in spring, spawning fish make use of the backyard brook, which leads to Lake Bel Air. And so the couple considered the landscape when they redesigned the place in 1979, adding two additional floors to the existing footprint. They installed massive picture windows to frame the trees, and built in stained glass to lend an ethereal quality to the interior light.

Through the seasons of their lives, they amended the property to suit their needs. When their son was old enough, they built him a BMX track and clay basketball court out back, then reclaimed the space as gardens and a fire pit when he went away to college. For years, the second and third floors served as contained master suite complete with a lofted office and a glassed-in porch that, during rainstorms, feels just like sitting beneath a waterfall. Every bit of the place was touched by the late Leeming, whose paintings adorn the walls (many are for sale, for those who are interested; contact the seller’s agent for more information).

This place is not for everyone. Not everybody appreciates spiral staircases and cork-like paneling and blue Formica countertops. I certainly do. And I know there are others for which this property will fit like a glove they sewed themselves.

The only downside here is the price point: $299,000, which is low enough to garner lots of attention. (Mott and Chace Sotheby’s Kim Marion, who represents the seller, says showings are this Wednesday and Thursday.) To whoever snags this gem of a place: I’m so very happy for you. Enjoy the fireflies.

Here’s your House Lust:

For more information, contact Mott and Chace Sotheby’s Kim Marion at 401-692-1644 or visit